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Crown lifting is carried out to increase the clearance between the ground level and the lower branches either to allow access below the tree, to clear sight lines, improve views or allow light to penetrate to the ground.
By removing the lower branches you can:
keep away from traffic
keep them away from a buildings
make signs visible that were installed too far off the ground
let in more light
open up a desirable view
create a lower trunk free of branches.
This type of pruning does much less damage to a tree than reducing the canopy size. It is best done gradually over a period of years.
Potential Damage of Crown Lifting
A trunk could be seriously injured if too many lower branches are removed at any one time.
Possible problems could occur including:
Possible decay may begin inside the trunk of an over pruned tree.
Removing too many lower branches can result in sunburn on the lower trunk
Can result in epicormic growth which forces the tree to grow taller.
Ideal Solution for Crown Lifting
Ideally half the foliage should originate from branches on the lower two thirds of the tree. Some major branches should be left on the lower half of the trunk.
We try to leave small branches on the lower trunk intact for about a year or more if possible after removing large branches because they help minimize injury from sudden sun exposure by shading the trunk. They also speed closure of pruning wounds.
Thin or drop crotch cut the largest branches in the lower part of the tree, but leave the small ones intact. This should provide enough clearance for a year because the branch will often spring upward after removing branches from the tips.
If necessary we would remove all branches back to the trunk one or more years later.
Large Diameter Branches
Raising the canopy on trees with large diameter low branches can initiate trunk decay if these large branches are removed. So to prevent this we would recommend thinning them reducing their length with drop crotch cuts instead of removing them completely.
This will slow their growth rate, and eventually the trunk will grow to become larger than the branch. This gives the tree an opportunity to form the branch defense zone at the base of the branch thus minimizing trunk decay once it is removed. When raising the canopy it may be necessary to attend to any structural pruning that needs to be done to correct defects. It is inappropriate to simply remove lower branches without correcting structural problems.
For more information about Heritage Arboriculture Ltd or to book an appointment to discuss your trees, please call us on 01234 720801.
Heritage Arboriculture ltd
Creating a Healthy and Beautiful Environment